Mission Accomplished! - Pretty much ever since I've been running for regular exercise, I've run somewhere between 3 and 4 miles. Sometimes even less. Bu...

THE Lowly Peon

English Question 
15 June 2010, 5:33am

My friend is studying for an English test and this one stumped me because all four options sound awful.

Which is correct:

  1. No sooner had he fallen asleep when ...
  2. Scarcely had he fallen asleep when...
  3. No sooner did he fall asleep when...
  4. Scarcely did he fall asleep when...

I've argued with many of my colleagues, and I've concluded that no one would really say any of them. In my opinion, because it says "when", you can't say "no sooner", because no sooner is a comparative. However, scarcely has a completely different meaning.

Note that they study the Queen's English.

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[15 June 2010]

Number 2. Yeah, "scarcely" doesn't feel right there, but it is a least an adverb ('no sooner' not being one) and grammatically fits.

Though, the dictionary on my computer gives this as example usage for 'scarecely', " she had scarcely dismounted before the door swung open." So, it seems to think scarcely is just fun in that sentence.

Anyway, it certainly isn't 3 or 4 and as you pointed out it isn't 1, so that leaves 2.



[15 June 2010]

Damn it. "Just fine" is what I meant in the second paragraph.



[15 June 2010]

Damn it. I meant to spell "scarcely" right in that paragraph too. Anyone heard of McKean's Law?



[15 June 2010]

Number 1 sounds the most natural to me.